NICE recommends Pfizer’s kidney cancer treatment Inlyta

Pfizer is set to gain a NICE recommendation for its renal cell carcinoma treatment Inlyta, two years after its launch.

The drug is to be used as second line therapy after failure of prior treatment with a first-line kinase inhibitor (such as Pfizer’s existing treatment Sutent) or a cytokine, and has been recommended after the company offered a price discount.

Inlyta (axitinib) was initially rejected by NICE in 2013, but a new review, complete with the price cut, has secured recommendation from NICE.

The news is well-timed for the company, as Inlyta is one of the drugs which may be de-listed from the Cancer Drugs Fund in England, a decision currently being considered.

The de-listing of some drugs will be confirmed in January, therefore approval by NICE means funding for Pfizer’s treatment in England should now be secure.

NICE has previously recommended two drugs for advanced renal cell carcinoma, Pfizer’s Sutent (sunitinib) and GSK’s Votrient (pazopanib), both as first-line treatments.

Commenting on the draft guidance, Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director, said: “NICE was asked by the Department of Health to look at axitinib for people who have already been treated with a cytokine or a drug known as a kinase inhibitor. This draft guidance recommends that the NHS provides axitinib for these patients. Although, this recommendation has not changed since the previous draft guidance, the updated draft includes some clarification around prescribing axitinib.

“The independent appraisal committee carefully considered the available evidence, including the discount offered by the company that market the drug and concluded that axitinib should be offered by the NHS.”

As NICE was asked by the Department of Health to look at the use of axitinib within its licensed indication for those previously treated with sunitinib (a kinase inhibitor), the use of axitinib after treatment with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as pazopanib, is not subject to statutory funding.

The draft guidance is now with consultees, who have the opportunity to appeal against it. Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments.

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